Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Great PSP Imports

 

Suikoden I & II

 A nice collection to own for fans of the RPG classics. This game collects both Suikoden and Suikoden II on one UMD and offers several enhancements. The graphics have been touched up nicely, you can now move your character diagonally, there is a gallery mode, and Suikoden I features a new anime opening movie (taken from the Sega Saturn release). Great RPGs all around, some of the best on the PSX.


 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ The redone sprite and background work looks really good

+ The games still hold up very well today

- No substantial content has been added

Import-Friendly?: Not very, there are no English options. Still a recommended import for big time Suikoden fans.


King's Field Additional I & II

Fans have received these two games with polarized opinions. I happen to think they're pretty cool, but the gameplay is very different from the King's Field games for the PSX and PS2. These games are straight up dungeon crawlers, so anyone with an interest in those kind of games should take note. They retain the original King's Field style and atmosphere very much, so people that enjoyed the series may want to look into these. Gameplay has taken a board-by-board approach, a somewhat rare design used by a lot of older dungeon crawlers. You'll see what I mean in the video below.



QUICK RUNDOWN

+ A good amount of content, solid gameplay if you're into this sort of thing

+ The music is still very good (a tradition for the King's Field series)

+ Fans of King's Field wishing there was more might have found a decent answer

+ You can carry your character and data from King's Field Additional I to the sequel

- Very niche audience gameplay-wise, will probably feel too dated for most

- Very difficult

Import-Friendly?: There are no English menus, but the game isn't especially text based. There is little to no story or dialogue. The games come with an English instruction manual.


Black Panther: Yakuza New Chapter

A spin-off to the popular Yakuza series on the PS2 and PS3. Original series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is not featured in this game, and instead you play as the violent Tatsuya Ukyo. Combat has been heavily revamped since previous series entries, but the old-school beat em up gameplay style remains highly entertaining. A great game by all means that fans of the series or gamers interested in Japanese culture should consider picking up.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Excellent production values; top notch graphics, great Peace Walker visual novel style narrative, smooth gameplay mechanics

+ Very intriguing story

+ Soundtrack is easy on the ears

- Loading times have been a small complaint among players, exploring Kamurocho feels some what jittery

- Long time players of the series may feel exploring a largely unchanged Kamurocho yet again is getting stale

Import-Friendly?: If you've played the previous Yakuza games, you really shouldn't have much of a problem enjoying the game without knowing Japanese. If you haven't, you may run into some confusion.


Breath of Fire III

 A direct port of the PSX classic. This release never made it to the US, but fortunately, it was released in EU territories, meaning US importers can enjoy it in full English. To my knowledge, nothing has been altered in this port. A timeless RPG from a great series, still recommended to fans and newcomers alike.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ A solid, enjoyable RPG

- Longer loading times are present

- No content has been added

Import-Friendly?: Yes, the EU release of the game is, obviously, in full English.


Star Soldier Collection

 One of my personal favorites, the Star Soldier series, got the collection treatment on PSP. The compilation contains Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, Soldier Blade, and Star Parodier. That's enough shooter action to occupy any shump fan for hours on end, having all 4 of these classics in one place is almost too good to be true. If you have even a passing interest in the shoot em up genre, you need this collection.

 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ 4 of the PC Engine's most memorable shooters all in one place

+ An absolutely great package for both veterans of the Star Soldier series and shoot em up fans looking for some great games

+ Seamless conversions

Import-Friendly?: Yes, this kind of game requires no reading.


Salamander Portable

 The PSP is the home of many great shoot em up collections, remakes, and original titles. I don't want to fill up the entire list with them though, so I'll make this the last one I mention. This collection features the Konami greats Salamander, Salamander 2, Life Force, Xexex, and Nemesis 2. As with the Star Soldier Collection, this should not be missed by any fans of the shoot em up genre. Salamander 2 and Xexex alone make this entirely worthy of a purchase. Konami also released portable collections of Gradius, Twin Bee, and Parodius, but I would argue this is the definitive Konami shump collection.

 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ 5 phenomenal shooters in one package, doesn't get any better than this

+ A slew of bonus gallery and music features

+ The only place Xexex is available outside of Japanese arcades

Import-Friendly?: Yes, this kind of game requires no reading. In fact, the menus are largely English.


Another Century's Episode Portable
 

A return to form after the disappointing release of Another Century's Episode: R for the PS3. This title removes many of the frustrating elements brought fourth in the series' first PS3 endeavor, and plays much more like the PS2 games. Another Century's Episode is a mech crossover game that is essentially a 3D action game custom made for fans of mech anime. The game creates scenarios that involve all of the series present in the game, and offers dozens of selectable mechs. Series include numerous Gundam series, King Gainer, Code Geass, Metal Armor Dragonar, Aura Battler Dunbine, numerous Macross series, and quite a few more.


QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Major gameplay improvements over Another Century's Episode: R

+ Huge list of anime series and selectable units present

- Lack of another analog stick and 2 triggers can pose some control issues

- Disappointing Banpresto Original mech representation

Import-Friendly?: If you're new to the series, it could be a little rough, but doable. If you've played previous ACE games you'll pretty much feel at home. If you're just looking to play as some of your favorite mechs and you aren't terribly concerned with fully understanding the story, there is certainly some fun to be had.

 

Brandish - The Dark Revenant

 
Some of you may remember the game Brandish on the SNES. Brandish was a game made by the talented RPG developers Falcom (Ys, Faxanadu, Dragon Slayer, Sorcerian) originally for the PC-9801, and ported to the SNES late in it's life. Basically, it's a solid top-down dungeon crawler. This PSP game is a full 3D remake, and a very good one at that. If you're looking for a little-known, fun, and accessible RPG to add to your PSP line-up, look no further.
QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Yet another great RPG by the Nihon Falcom team, if you're familiar with their efforts, you'll likely enjoy this

+ The rearranged soundtrack is great

- The game shows it's age a bit, gamers that aren't very into dungeon crawlers might not be able to get into it

Import-Friendly?: Surprisingly so. There is very little menu navigating to be done, and much of the game's text is displayed in English anyway. You should be able to enjoy this one with minimal language barrier issues.

 

Oreike

 

Also known as Onore no Shinzuru Michi wo Yuke, this incredibly unique action puzzle platformer is one you ought to take mental note of. The game's stand-out feature is it's approach to puzzle solving. Your character is capable of creating multiple copies of himself, and most of the puzzles will require more than one person to solve (standing on a switch, moving something out of the way, etc). You record yourself doing certain tasks, and then replay that self while you control your other (real) self. There is also combat in the game, in the form of melee and spell casting. Every level has a pretty strict time limit in place, making the game quite challenging, but highly rewarding. The art direction is also very compelling, the game looks great.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Unique puzzle elements and gameplay make this a standout PSP title all together

+ Eccentric boss design is very welcomed

+ Gorgeous art design

- Steep difficulty

Import-Friendly?: As far as gameplay goes, you should be able to enjoy it to it's fullest without any knowledge of Japanese, which is the most important part. I strongly suggest you give this one a shot.


RockMan Dash I & II

Both of the fan favorite MegaMan Legends games were ported to PSP, and eventually released in a value pack. A great collector's item (especially with the PSX titles being so expensive now a days) for Legends fans. The aspect ratio has been adjusted to fit the PSP's screen to 16:9, and as a result the game does look a bit smoother, but no substantial graphical overhaul has been done. No new content was added however, except for a Roll mini-game in Legends 2.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Both of the great MegaMan Legends games in one place

- No features added, making a double dip not especially rewarding to anyone but hardcore MegaMan Legends fans

- As with most PSX ports to the PSP, the controls suffer a bit

Import-Friendly?: No. If you've played the games already, then you'll be able to make your way through, but this is a very plot driven and menu based RPG.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some Honorable Mentions:

Super Robot Wars MX (Strategy RPG. Enhanced port of the PS2 game of the same name.)

Super Robot Wars A (Strategy RPG. Nice looking remake of the GBA game of the same name.)

Tales of Eternia (RPG. Port of the PSX game. Was released in EU territories, so an English import is available.) 

Bleach Heat the Soul series (Fighting games. Eighting has developed a number of quality fighting games based off the Bleach anime for the PSP.)

Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden (3D Fighter. Based off the Fist of the North Star series.) 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hellfire vs Hellfire S Comparison

ヘルファイヤーS

Hellfire S

Platform: PC Engine CD-ROM

Genre: Shooter

Released: April 12, 1991

Developed by: Toaplan

 Published by: NEC

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 Hellfire is a game developed by the prestigious Toaplan, the developer responsible for well known greats such as Tatsujin (Truxton), Kyokyoku Tiger (Twin Cobra), Batsugun, and Zero Wing. The game was initially released in arcades in 1989, and received a somewhat well known Genesis/MegaDrive port the following year. The game is most notable for it's 8-way shooting mechanic, and for being extremely difficult to complete.


Hellfire also got a lesser known PC Engine CD-ROM make over released in Japan, titled Hellfire S. I'm going to go over the various differences between the Genesis/MegaDrive and the PC Engine ports rather than focus on reviewing the game, since it's not really an import-only title, nor is it particularly unknown. I'll be looking at the graphical, audio, and gameplay differences below.


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 Graphical Differences

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Genesis Version
PC Engine Version

 The PC Engine conversion has a nicer looking title screen, and the Hellfire logo looks much sharper.

 

Genesis Version
PC Engine Version

There are some noticeable differences right away. Each game features a different HUD, to me the Genesis HUD looks a bit more appealing, but they are most likely different due to the fact that the PCE version included a 2 player mode. The sprites look much sharper in the PCE version, and the backgrounds have been altered slightly.

 

Genesis Version
PC Engine Version
Genesis Version
PC Engine Version
Genesis Version
PC Engine Version
Genesis Version
PC Engine Version
Genesis Version
PC Engine Version

 The areas often look different and some backgrounds are altered. Enemy bullets are brighter and more apparent in the PCE version. The main aesthetic difference between the two versions is that the PCE version generally tries to look more crisp and colorful, and the Genesis version goes for a more monotone visual appearance (likely because it was trying to stick to the arcade version). It comes down to a matter of taste really, as the PCE's slight improvements aren't enough to consider it better all around, but some may prefer how the artwork was handled here. I enjoy the shading effects that can be found on most of the backgrounds and sprites in the Genesis port over the cleaner looking PCE ones.

 

Genesis Version
PC Engine Version

 Strangely, the explosion animations are worse in the PC Engine version. The Genesis ones are much smoother, the PC Engine ones are kind of rough and look pretty pixelated.


Genesis Version
PC Engine Version

Your ship's beams look and fire slightly different in each version. This could be considered a bit of a gameplay difference as well. Once you've increased your ship's firepower twice, you begin to fire 2 beams instead of having the pea shooter gun. Once you collect 4, you fire 3 beams. Once you collect 5, your ship is at max power (picture above is a fully powered ship). The difference is that once your ship begins firing multiple beams, the PCE version shoots them out as one long beam that hits multiple times, whereas the Genesis version shoots out one wave at a time. The long wave attack featured in the PCE version feels more formidable.


your ship changes color in the Genesis port

It's also worth noting that for some reason, your ship doesn't change color when you switch your firing direction in the PCE version. Your beam still becomes a different color, but your ship is always the same color. This might have been to stop any confusion that may have been had while playing with another person, but I wouldn't imagine it would have become much of a problem.

 

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 Gameplay Differences

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First and foremost, the PC Engine conversion is much easier. There are numerous reasons for this, but the most apparent two are: your ship has increased firepower, and when your ship is destroyed you respawn instantly. If you've played the Genesis version, you already know how much easier this would make things. There are some other subtleties that lower the overall challenge too. 

  •  No Hellfire Canon

    • A instantly noticeable gameplay difference is the removal of the Hellfire weapon. In the Genesis version, pressing C uses your ships super beam attack. The attack clears out everything in front of you and does some big damage to bosses. I'm not exactly sure why it was removed, but it might have something to do with the fact that the regular PCE controller only has 2 buttons.

      this attack was removed from the PC Engine version
  •  2 Player Mode

    • 2 Player mode is featured in the PCE conversion, and it's inclusion is the biggest thing the PCE version has over the Genesis one.

  •  Speed Up Option

    • In the options menu, you can opt to fix your ship at a faster default speed. This makes the game a lot easier, because the regular default speed is VERY slow.

  •  No Stock Change

    • In the Genesis version, you can change your life stock from 3 to 4 in the options. It's fixed at 4 in the PCE version.

  •  Power Up Changes

    •  The Genesis version features a satellite power up. Basically, it hovers around the screen absorbing bullets and attacking enemies. This power up is not present in the PCE version in any form.

    •  The power up that allows you to take a hit before being destroyed now allows you to take 2 hits.

    •  The "P" power ups appear nearly twice as frequently. This could be partially due to the removal of the Hellfire attack and satellite power ups (thus making other power ups appear more often), but it was likely a change made to lower the difficulty. It is possible to have a fully powered ship in the first level very early on. In the Genesis version, you won't be fully powered (assuming you haven't died and have collected every power up so far) until a little before the mini-boss.

  •  Instant Respawn

    • Dying in the Genesis version stops the game and restarts the level, putting you at a checkpoint. In the PCE version you respawn instantly, with some invincibility frames. This makes things a LOT less frustrating, but removes a large element of the challenge that was present in the Genesis port.

  •  Hellfire S Features A Story and Narrative

    • The other big addition to the game, and perhaps a diving force behind the decision to remake it, is the fact that the game features some kind of plot line. There is an opening cinematic and anime-style cinematic sections with voice acting between stages.

right then
so this is the pilot huh? good luck you poor thing

 

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 Music and Audio Differences

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The PCE version features an arranged soundtrack. The songs are heavily altered and now feature more of a light synth sound. The Genesis port sticks closely to the Arcade game's music. This just comes down to a matter of opinion, but personally I'd take the Genesis music over the PCE arrangements any day. The Genesis music is just great. Below are all three versions of opening stage's music. Listening to them will give you a solid idea of what was changed, as the changes carry on throughout the game.

 

Arcade Music

 

Genesis Music

 

PC Engine Music

 

Another point worth mentioning that the PCE version has boss music (plays the music played on the title menu). There is no change in music when you fight a boss in the Genesis port. The sound effects were altered too. The most noticeable sfx difference is the sound your ship makes when firing. It's not exactly "worse", but strangely different. Not really a point worth going into in detail though.


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 Ending Comments

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The PC Engine remake offers the better presentation. The visuals are generally more crisp, everything just looks smoother. The inclusion of 2 player is of course a great feature too. The story scenes don't really do anything for me, but I suppose they may be welcomed by some. The visual improvements are nice, but I like the overcast feel the Genesis port has. The backgrounds in the Genesis port look much cooler, but the PCE version undeniably has the better looking sprite work. The arranged OST isn't particularly good, but it's not bad. The songs happen to be very good in the first place, so it's held up by that. The Genesis version gets my vote for the better soundtrack easily though, the faster pace of the songs accompany the game much better. I would have liked to see the PCE version take advantage of the CD-ROM's wonderful Red Book audio capabilities in a different way, by doing a rock arrangement of the OST instead. The songs would transition very well into rock themed arrangements.


I would suggest you try this out if you're a fan of Hellfire or Toaplan shooters, as the gameplay is still great stuff. It's not up to par with some of Toaplan's other great Genesis-era entries, but Hellfire remains one of my favorites nonetheless. The eased up difficulty is nice in a way too, the Genesis version is so brutally unforgiving that playing the PCE version can feel refreshing. It's not one of the more expensive PCE shooter imports, but it can still go for fairly expensive. A nice game to own for shooter fans and big time Toaplan fans.

 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yu Yu Hakusho Final: Makai Saikyo Retsuden

 幽☆遊☆白書 Final: 魔界最強列伝

Yuu Yuu Hakusho Final: Demon World's Strongest Legends

Platform:Super Famicom

Genre: 2D Fighter

Released: March 24, 1995

Developed by: Namco

 Published by: Namco

  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Basic Overview

(some details to see if you'd have any interest in playing this game)

 

Who should play: -fans of old school 2D sprite fighters

-obviously, Yu Yu Hakusho fans, or anime fans in general

-players looking for a great 16-bit fighter that that's new to them


Strong points: -surprisingly deep mechanics, allowing for combo strings, desperation attacks, and other now-common 2D fighter elements

-rather large character selection, 14 characters

-very nice 2D animation

-a large amount of modes for fighters of this era (6 different modes), allowing for some gameplay longevity, even without a second player


Weak points: -nothing to offer to players that aren't either Yu Yu Hakusho fans or fighting game enthusiasts

-even with 4 unique modes to help the single player gameplay prosper, it will still become boring somewhat quickly without another player

-some occasional slowdown


Neutral points: -when playing on more challenging modes, the enemy AI is surprisingly good, and might feel cheap

 

How text heavy?: Not at all, you should have no problem navigating menus. The only text-heavy segments are within the game's story mode, and if you've watched the Yu Yu Hakusho anime, you'll know exactly what's going on anyway. No Japanese is required to enjoy this game to it's fullest, really.

Other versions: None.

Similar games: Other 16-bit anime fighters, namely the DBZ ones.

 

Suggested videos:

advanced character combos

some cool gameplay video backed by a remix of the original OP theme of the anime

obligated to post this

 

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 What is it? 

(Yu Yu who?)


Yu Yu Hakusho was a manga series that ran in Japan in the early 90s, written by Yoshihiro Togashi (also the writer of Hunter x Hunter). It spawned a very popular anime that ran 112 episodes and 2 OVAs. One of the OVAs would become the first stateside exposure Yu Yu Hakusho would enjoy, but it wasn't until 2002 that Cartoon Network's Adult Swim would fully expose the US to the franchise. The story revolves around Yusuke Urameshi, who is a delinquent High School student that sacrifices his life while uncharacteristically trying to save a child from getting hit by a car. The Spirit World senses some potential in Yusuke, and it's rulers decide to give him another chance at life by making him a Spirit Detective that must apprehend various demon outlaws.

 

mukuro dealing some punishment
majin yusuke's reigan

 

Naturally, the popularity of the franchise created multiple video games in Japan. There are actually over 20 Yu Yu Hakusho video games, and I intend to cover more in the future. The game I'm covering here is a highly competent 2D sprite fighter that you should not allow to go unnoticed for another moment, provided that you're a fan of this sort of game. This game covers the final 2 story arcs of the series, the Sensui arc and the Makai Tournament arc. This is an above average 2D fighter in every way, the controls are superb, the mechanics are very realized and fine tuned, there are over a dozen playable characters, and the animations look wonderful.

 

laying the smackdown

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Review

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GAMEPLAY

 

the animations look very satisfying



This is pretty much as good as 16-bit 2D fighters get. There's a certain charm that old school sprite fighters have. Each character having just their basic set of normals, and 3-5 special moves, makes things so incredibly fun in it's inherent simplicity. The fun that this kind of game can provide with a good hour of local versus with a buddy can't be found anywhere else. Even alone, this game offers fighting game fans something special: a great, obscure 2D fighter of Hyper Dimension quality.

 


The controls are fairly standard, it's a 4 button fighter. A and B act as heavy and light kick, respectively. X and Y act as heavy and light punch, respectively. Each character has 3 special moves, with inputs being your standard fair; quarter circle, half circle, or charge inputs. All special moves require energy to use, which is one of the features of this game that make it unique. You are able to replenish your energy bar by holding any attack button and entering a power up animation. Your energy then recovers pretty quickly, but you're entirely left open to attack. Every character also has one or two "auto-combo" actions, which will have them gatling out a string of their normals with only one input, much faster than you'd be able to do it normally. 

1) HP bar    2) Energy/KI bar   3)Stun meter



All characters also have desperation attacks, which are just awesome. With a full energy bar and 1/4 of your HP remaining, you gain access to a super move that depletes all of your energy, but is extremely damaging. This adds a lot of fun to the game, and even more fun to playing with a friend. It makes for some tense and humorous moments when the fight gets down to the last hits. Should you risk charging your energy bar to try and get your desperation attack off, leaving you open to attack, or should you play it safe and go on the defensive? Some characters have multiple iterations in the game, for example, both Yusuke and Majin Yusuke are playable in the game. While playing as Yusuke, you have the option to transform into Majin Yusuke. This also applies to other characters that are represented with multiple forms, and some characters even have unique transformations all together. When you transform, your energy bar is slowly depleted until it reaches zero, and then you revert back to your original form.
 
one of the cooler desperation attacks, hiei's kokuryuha


There are also a few other mechanics of note. There are grabs of course, which send your opponent flying and open up a window for comboing. If you press an attack button with the right timing after being grabbed, you are able to recover from this however, so you're not just a sitting duck after being grabbed. Most characters are able to dash towards and away your enemy, and dashing directly next to them will have to dash past them and appear on the other side of them. If you and your opponent dash into each other, you trigger a special event that has you start pummeling on each other a la Fist of the North Star, and have to start mashing buttons. Whoever wins gets thrown back a bit and takes some damage. There is a stun meter at play too, if you take too much damage without blocking or interrupting the other player, you get put into a dizzy state. The dizzy state lasts for quite some time, so if you get put into it you're as good as dead. Each character has instant stun moves as well.

this'll happen if both players collide while dashing
sensui's sacred energy


OVERALL PRESENTATION

 

The character animations look very nice, but the sprites aren't as detailed as some of the other games of this era. The menus aren't clustered and are easy to navigate, as they should be, being that this is just a tournament fighter. In general, a good amount of attention was paid towards making everything look nice. Nothing is ugly or lazy looking, but the actual gameplay is where the game shines the most. The sound effects are decent, and the voice samples are recognizable and will properly remind you of the anime.

 

you can access your move list in-game, a welcomed feature

 

There are 6 different stages, all based off scenes from the 2 final story arcs of the anime. The backgrounds aren't mindblowing, but the levels are fitting, and some have some cool looking animations going on. The levels with lightning storms going on are particularly cool. Some more stages would have been nice, and each character having their own stage would have been great, but this is a minor gripe. The playable character selection itself however, is great. You can play as 14 characters from the series: Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, Sensui, Shigure, Shura, Majin Yusuke, Youko Kurama, Armored Sensui, Raizen, Youmi, Mukuro, and Yakumo (from the OVA). Yakumo is a secret character, but unlocking him is as simple as inputting a code. To use him, while on the title screen, press Y seven times, X six times, and A five times. A voice sample will play if done correctly.


The game is somewhat balanced even, you should be able to put up a fight regardless of who you chose. You'll find that Hiei, Youko Kurama, and Armored Sensui are quite noticeably more powerful than the rest of the cast if you play enough though. Characters that have two iterations of themselves (Yusuke, Kurama, Sensui) play differently too, they are not just cloned characters. Their movesets are different enough to warrant them being included, especially in the case of Youko. Yusuke and Majin Yusuke admittedly feel a bit similiar, but still, it's more of a Ryu to Akuma parallel than a Ryu to Ken one.

 

characters aplenty, each playing fairly unique

 

There are a surprising six modes of gameplay to try out. Modes include: Story Mode, Makai Tournament Mode, Standard Arcade Mode, 2 Player, Team Mode, and a Training Mode. I'll detail each of them below.

you come for revenge, eh?

 

Story Mode: Only Yusuke, Hiei, Kuwabara, and Kurama are available in this mode. You may be fairly surprised to hear this mode isn't just a completely tacked on string of battles. I mean, essentially it is, but it's fun, follows the anime's storyline, and even features some narration with still images. All 4 character's story modes start with the Sensui arc, pitting them against Sensui, then Armored Sensui. After that, the story modes differ as the game puts you into the Makai Tournament arc, and as you follow your character's story different fights and events will take place, corresponding to the source material.


Makai Tournament Mode: This mode puts you in a bracket with all the characters in the game, and has you fight it out tournament style. Standard mode, but a bit more interesting than your standard arcade mode, which is also featured.


Arcade/VS CPU Mode: You fight a gauntlet of all the characters in a random order.


2 Player VS Mode: Self-explanatory.


Team Mode: A pretty fun mode here, can be played with either 1 or 2 players. You pick a team of 4 characters and try to beat other teams. You are able to pick which teams you wish to fight against in what order. It doesn't work like a tag match, the winner of the match stays and keeps the same HP, the loser loses that member and the next in line comes out to fight.


the beat down never ends in training mode

Training Mode: Self-explanatory, but there are some noteworthy features. It can be done with 2 players, and there are training modes A and B. Training Mode A makes it so each character's health is depleted, whereas Training Mode B gives both characters infinite health. Your energy bar is always full, and desperation attacks are available at any time in Training Mode B. It's actually a pretty good training mode for games of this time.


All things considered, the presentation is very good all around.


MUSIC



It's pretty good stuff, above average even, but it's nothing too great. Each character has their own theme, which is very cool, but some of the songs just come off as average. There are a few select songs that are very good though, such as Armored Sensui's theme, which was the most memorable track for me. There's an in-game music player in the options menu, too. The tracks can't really hold a candle to other fighting game OSTs of the time (namely, Street Fighter), but the music never sounds ugly or boring, which is a problem you can run into sometimes with lazily composed soundtracks. Overall, it's best OST out of the 4 Yu Yu Hakusho Super Famicom games, and will provide you with some suitable tunes.



IN CLOSING

 

 I feel this game is even better than Treasure's Yu Yu Hakusho: Makyo Toitsusen for the MegaDrive, and that's a pretty bold statement. This is the more traditional fighter, and it's better because of it. The programmers really nailed every aspect of what makes a great 2D sprite fighter; solid moves, enjoyable and fluid gameplay, a good cast of characters, and giving the player a multitude of options to play with. If you are or were a fan of the Yu Yu Hakusho series, you're pretty much obligated to give this game a go. If you played the shoddy piece of programming that was The Dark Tournament for the PS2 that we got here the in US, you owe it to yourself to play one of the good Yu Yu Hakusho games (there are also some good PS2 ones I'll detail later).

 

raizen facing off against shigure


Playing this gem with a buddy is truly great fun, I've personally played dozens of matches with this game against my friends. It really holds up in terms of gameplay, and if you're a retro gamer to begin with then you're going to have a really good time with this one. The inclusion of desperation attacks, energy bars, and combos set this game apart from it's peers. For big time fighter enthusiasts, you'll be able to spend a couple of afternoons trying to best the very tough AI, coming up with the most practical combos for your favorite character, and just plain old enjoying some timeless 2D brawling. Seek out the cart or give the rom a download, you won't be disappointed.


 Additional screen caps:

battles from the anime are re-created

damn you and your tricks sensui
the game's interesting team mode
you're able to charge your energy bar at any time
victory, this is the screen you want to see
the game's bracket-style tournament mode
yakumo, a secret character included from the poltergeist report OVA
youmi, arguably the strongest demon in the yu yu hakusho universe
the movesets are lifted right from the show
characters have palette swap costumes
the game opens with some still images of the characters